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White Ambergris 10% Tincture
Eleonora Scalseggi has this to say “This 10% White Irish Tincture is the more luxurious, more concentrated and stronger version of the classic 3% tincture. Aged for a minimum of 18 months (as of July 2022) and produced from beach-combed ambergris from the beautiful, wild rugged beaches of Ireland and obtained from white grade ambergris pieces only, so only the ones that have had a lot of time – years even – to mellow and refine their aroma whilst still floating in the cold ocean waters before crashing onto the beaches where they were eventually found.
White ambergris is the finest and cleanest smelling grade of ambergris, so its animalic facets, although present, are very soft, mellow and clean, whilst displaying warmth, a hint of leathery cosiness and light salty tonalities that without fail seem to seamlessly merge with the skin’s scent a few minutes after application.
Natural ambergris is a perfumery material that stays close to the skin and never overpowers the compositions where it is used: it exalts, makes the blend smell more vibrant yet cosier and more natural-smelling at the same time, but more times than not it will do so almost without being noticed in the blend as a distinct perfume note. Although more concentrated, this applies to this tincture as well.
A lot has been already written on ambergris, what is it and how it is obtained, but this is the first time you ever read about it, here is more detailed explanation:
Ambergris is a hard-waxy substance that results from sperm whales’ occasional intestinal irritation caused by their cuttlefish diet. This irritation causes some big lumps, our ambergris, forming in their digestive system. How these are then expelled is still not certain, even though apparently most of them are never really expelled. It is only after the sperm whale has passed away, after sharks and other fishes have eaten its remains that the ambergris -discarded by sea inhabitants – starts getting lighter in weight until it gets light enough to properly float. At this point the real journey of ambergris begins: the combined action of ocean salted waters, wind and sun will mellow it. It will take even several decades of floating for ambergris to lose the foul, rough smell of intestines and instead acquire the saltiness of the ocean storms, with its animalic notes now mellowed and sweet, beautifully transformed.
It is at some point of these transformations that our ambergris is eventually washed ashore and found, often by the so-called beach-combers (professional ambergris searchers) and sometimes -albeit very rarely- found by pure chance by the lucky occasional beach stroller.
Different grades of ambergris exist, based on colour, some stronger smelling than others. There is black, brown, golden, grey, silver and white, where white is the most prized and sought-after material for the exquisite delicacy of its scent profile. Dark ambergris grades (like black and brown) are the cheapest and dirtiest/roughest but also strongest smelling. Although their aromatic profile could still be of interest for the perfumer for wild animalic effects in compositions, we have decided to stay away from these cheaper, lower grades. The reason is easily explained: the best grades of ambergris (which are light in colour) have floated in the ocean for many years before being found ashore. They are indeed “beach combed” material, very rare to come by, hence expensive.
The low grades of ambergris, however, are much easier to come by. Every time that a sperm whale is found dead on a beach (or is killed by man), there is a chance that ambergris will be found in its bowels. In this case the material can be also softer in consistency and not as dry and brittle as the aged, mellowed ambergris, and it will be available in rather abundant amounts, thus making it a significantly cheaper proposition. We ourselves have been offered this type of ambergris on several occasions, but since it is ultimately impossible to know for sure if the whale died of natural causes or if it has been killed on purpose, we prefer to err on the side of caution and just stay away from these low grades of ambergris altogether.
Please note that with pure ambergris tinctures and specially with the white grades, it is not uncommon to find the material faint smelling, especially for those who have never experienced ambergris before. Indeed, smelling it straight from the bottle you might initially pick up the smell of alcohol better than you do that of ambergris. Should this occur, try and place one drop or two directly onto the skin or a smelling strip, let the alcohol evaporate, then evaluate again and enjoy the ocean salty – clean musky sweetness of this very precious material.
Unfortunately, this material cannot be shipped to Australia or America